Between 50 and 60 men and boys were employed at the pit in 1842 and when the explosion occurred at about 11:00am there were 26 workmen underground. The explosion happened at a point that was about 200 yards away from the far end of the pit in the Black Mine (seam) and this was followed shortly afterwards by a rumbling and then flames appearing at the mouth of the pit shaft.
Several hours elapsed before it was considered safe enough to go down the pit and start a search and rescue operation. By this time two surgeons, Doctors F Tinker and Potter, were on hand to give what help they could.
In the table below, each name is followed by the age and the death register reference at Tameside Register Office, Dukinfield, (Newton & Godley Sub-District, 1842).
The 17 men who died were:
The injured men were:
The inquest was held on Monday, 11 April 1842 at the White Hart Hotel on Old Road, Flowery Field, not far from the scene of the accident. After hearing the evidence, the jury returned a verdict that, “We all agree that it was accidental death with no blame to anyone.” The landlord at the time was John Sowerbutts.
The stone-built White Hart Hotel stood on Old Road near White Hart Street. It opened in c.1833 and it closed in 2002 to be demolished in 2007.
Flowery Field Pit
The proprietors of Flowery Field Pit were Messrs Samuel Swire and Henry Lees. The 1847 Tithe map for Newton records that the farmstead at Newton Hall was rented by Samuel Swire and Henry Lees from the landowner, Francis Duckenfield Palmer Astley.